Series creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason uses the fictional Atlanta design firm of Sugarbaker and Associates as a witty bully pulpit for caustic social and political humour. The founder of the company is Julia Sugarbaker, a sharp-tongued but elegant and surprisingly compassionate woman. Her younger sister, Suzanne, is a former beauty queen who is long on charm but a bit slow on the uptake. Their associates are Mary Jo Shively, a recent divorcee, and officer manager Charlene Frazier, whose sweetness is matched only by her naivete. Their deliverman is Anthony Bouvier, a well-spoken ex-convict, and cheerfully dotty senior citizen Bernice Clifton often drops by for a visit as well.